Judge will review text messages
Judge Terry Ruckriegle ordered that cell phone text messages between Kobe Bryant’s alleged rape victim and a former boyfriend be turned over to him to review for possible inclusion in the NBA star’s trial.Harold Haddon, one of Bryant’s lead defense attorneys, said those messages started at 2:41 a.m. July 1, 2003 – about three hours after the incident in Bryant’s hotel suite at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera.. That statement contradicts an assertion by former boyfriend Matt Herr’s attorney, Keith Tooley, that there were no messages June 30 or July 1.Ruckriegle said that Herr told the court that the text messages had nothing to do with the incident between Bryant and the woman.Bryant’s defense attorneys subpoenaed AT&T last October, looking for those records. Haddon said AT&T’s attorneys agreed to preserve the messages until the judge ruled on the matter.Ruckriegle cited a federal case in which a grand jury subpoenaed then-President Nixon, demanding Nixon’s tape recordings in the Watergate case.”The defense has shown that the text messages are relevant,” said Ruckriegle.Even under state and federal law, the messages can be turned over if they’re found to be relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation, Ruckriegle said. Tooley argued that under federal law, Herr has privacy rights and that the text messages should not be turned over to the court.”The defense wants the government to do its bidding with a fishing expedition into my client’s private text messages,” said Tooley. “Mr. Bryant is a wealthy man and a superstar, but he is no more important than my client.”Ruckriegle said the courts have never recognized “the kind of absolute privilege that Mr. Herr says he’s under.”Ruckriegle ordered four sealed sets of the text messages be provided and that one go to Tooley, who asked Ruckriegle that he be allowed to review their content before the judge issues his final ruling.